Norethindrone Vs. Errin: What’s The Difference?

Published: July 29, 2020Updated: November 22, 2022

How they work

Norethindrone and Errin are progestin-only birth control pills (POP), also known as the mini-pill. They are good options for those who are unable to take estrogen-containing contraception, and they may cause fewer side effects (e.g., bloating, mood swings, weight gain) compared to estrogen-containing pills. Progestin prevents pregnancy by:

  • Thickening vaginal fluid to make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg
  • Preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation)


With typical use, Norethindrone and Errin are about 87% effective. Progestin-only pills are slightly less effective than combination birth control pills. To achieve maximum effectiveness at preventing pregnancy, the mini-pill should be taken every day at the same time. Keep in mind, Norethindrone and Errin don’t protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections)—only barrier methods do that! If you want additional protection, consider pairing your birth control pill with a female condom.

Effect on periods

If you experience heavy periods or painful cramps, Norethindrone and Errin can make your symptoms less severe—some even experience no periods while using Norethindrone or Errin. We’re here to help, so let us know in the consultation if heavy periods are a concern for you, so our doctors can make sure you find the right fit.

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Effect on skin quality

As Norethindrone and Errin stabilize your hormone levels, you may notice an improvement in your skin while on these mini-pills. However, if acne is a major concern, you may want to consider one of the four combination birth control brands that are FDA-approved to treat acne:

Effect on weight

As Norethindrone and Errin are progestin-only, they lack the estrogen that can sometimes cause weight gain. However, some may gain 1-4 pounds in the first month of using the mini-pill, but this weight will typically go away quickly as it is usually water weight, not fat


Norethindrone and Errin are oral birth control pills that come in 28-day packs—every pill in the mini-pill pack is active (even the last week!). The mini-pill only contains enough hormones to regulate the uterus for 24-hours, so it’s important to take the pill every day within the same three-hour window to prevent against pregnancy. Here’s what to do if you’ve missed a pill.

How to take Norethindrone

  • Take one pill daily, for 28 days straight (then start your next pack)
  • Norethindrone becomes effective after 48 hours of taking it

How to take Errin

  • Take one pill daily, for 28 days straight (then start your next pack)
  • Errin becomes effective after 48 hours of taking it

Side effects 

Norethindrone and Errin are less likely to cause side effects than combination birth control pills. Most side effects are mild and often go away after a few weeks, but others may be more serious and can require medical care.

Common side effects:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea 

Serious side effects

  • Blood clot
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe headaches
  • High blood pressure 

If you experience any of the serious side effects, contact a doctor immediately. If you're still struggling with any of the common side effects after you've been on Norethindrone or Errin for three months, another birth control brand or method may be a better fit. Talk to your doctor about your options. Our doctors are available to reassess and write a new prescription at any time (at no cost to you).

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Norethindrone and Errin are both very affordable birth control options. If you have insurance, you can typically get Norethindrone or Errin for a $0 copay,* and if you’re paying out-of-pocket, you can get them for as little as $15/month or $20/month respectively through Simple Health.

Other equivalent birth control options

Camila, Nora-Be

*In the rare case a copay over $20 is required - you’ll hear from us!

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